One of the few songs from the ill-fated Groovy Decay sessions that Robyn hasn’t disowned, “Fifty Two Stations” is a bittersweet love song, a remembrance of a past relationship that ended poorly. The singer can’t understand her and sees her as self-absorbed, all of which messes with his head until he lashes out and leaves. Only in hindsight can he see that the differences and the self-absorption was on both sides. Instead of recriminations and anger, Hitchcock’s focus is on the sadness of it all.
As far is the music, it isn’t much more than a mid-tempo rocker with a bad Dire Straits panning drum intro (really close to “Money For Nothing”, though that came later) on Decay, with just enough angular guitar to keep it moving. The Kershaw Sessions version, however, is both softer and a little cheesier than the earlier release. This is distinctly not an improvement; it sounds vaguely like a song writer’s demo for some 60s soft rock group, say, Harper’s Bizarre.
Despite my serious undersell, it is a good song. This is a good representative of the part of Hitchcock’s catalog that often gets overlooked; everyone focuses on the eccentricities and misses the pure pop songs he always wrote and nestled in beside the crustaceans, death and anthropomorphic inanimate objects.